Russia's Wagner boss heralds Bakhmut area advances, warns victory still distant
Jan 19 (Reuters) - The founder of Russia's Wagner mercenary group Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Thursday that his forces had taken the village of Klishchiivka, on the edge of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, but said that Ukrainian forces could not be forced from Bakhmut swiftly.
In a transcript of an audio message pubished by Prigozhin's press service, the Wagner chief said: "We can safely say that the settlement of Klishchiivka, which is one of the important suburbs of Bakhmut, has been completely taken under the control of Wagner PMC units."
Klishchiivka, which had a pre-war population of around 400 people, is located around 6 miles (9 kilometres) from the city of Bakhmut, where Wagner units have been locked have been locked in a months-long battle of attrition with Ukrainian forces.
However, Prigozhin warned that Wagner would be unlikely to oust Ukrainian forces from Bakhmut soon: "Contrary to various opinions that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are fleeing from Artemovsk [the Russian name for Bakhmut], this is not so. The Ukrainian army is working clearly and harmoniously. We have a lot to learn from them."
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